Can Stress Kill You?
Stress can be chronic or acute. Acute stress occurs when we are suddenly faced with a traumatic event. For example, if suddenly a person came at us with a knife or we are told we have an exam tomorrow we knew nothing about. Acute stress is sudden. It causes the body to react. You may have heard of the fight or flight response. When we are in a difficult situation, our body prepares to run or to fight. In the modern world, that is not so easy. If we are stressed because our boss shouts at us, it is not really appropriate to fight or run away, so that stress can be retained inside our body.
When we are stressed and ready to run or fight, our body becomes tense, our muscles tense, our heart rate increases. We are ready to react. But if that stress has nowhere to go, it can cause difficulties for our body and our minds.
If we are under constant or frequent stress we can start to suffer from acute stress. Say your boss shouts at you once, it may lead to acute stress. But if your boss is shouting at you all day every day, it can lead to chronic stress. If you are worried about paying your bills every day or you are caring for someone who is ill or you are unhappy in your life, all can lead to chronic stress.
Chronic stress is one of the underlying causes of many, if not all, psychological and medical disorders.
If we remain prepared for fight or flight over a long period of time, the body can start to break down, resulting in burn out. This is also known as dysautonomia. It can lead to debilitating conditions such as addiction, high blood pressure, sleep disorders, impaired mental health, chemical and food sensitivities, fatigue and more.
In the early stages of dysautonomia, the person may experience vague symptoms that come and go, such as –
- Irregular heart beat
- Pounding heart
- Disturbed sleep
- Blurred vision
The person may feel not quite right but can’t think exactly what is wrong. They may visit the doctor to no effect.
But over time, if dysautonomia continues, the person may experience a range of significant conditions, such has –
- Recurring headaches
- Adrenal fatigue
- High blood pressure
- Sexual dysfunctions
- Heart disease
- Food and chemical sensitivities
- Drug or alcohol addiction
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Panic attacks
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
This is not to say that being stressed will automatically lead a person to have these conditions. It means that stress can be a factor in the person developing these conditions.
Understanding stress, its impact on our body and what triggers it is important. As you can see, stress can have a massive impact upon our body. We cannot say that stress kills us, but stress can lead to worsening conditions that can kill us or have a serious impact upon our physical health.
If you would like to learn more about stress management or help other people deal with their stress, why not have a look at our stress management courses?
Stress Management Certificate
Personal Energy Management Certificate
Stress Management 100 hour Course
Managing Stress eBook - Our eBooks are a great resource for reference!
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